Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Freeman Dyson, one of the world’s most prominent physicists, has given an interview to The Register, in which he discusses climate change, and his disappointment that President Obama, whom he strongly admires, chose the wrong side of the Climate issue.
Freeman Dyson on Politics;
An Obama supporter who describes himself as “100 per cent Democrat,” Dyson says he is disappointed that the President “chose the wrong side.” Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, but is not an insurmountable crisis. Climate change, he tells us, “is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”
Freeman Dyson on Climate models;
Are climate models getting better? You wrote how they have the most awful fudges, and they only really impress people who don’t know about them.
I would say the opposite. What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger. It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago. I can’t say if they’ll always be wrong, but the observations are improving and so the models are becoming more verifiable.
It seems almost medieval to suppose that nature is punishing us, rather than the Enlightenment view, that we can tame nature, and still be good stewards of it.
That’s all true.
Dyson is also deeply concerned that the world appears to be experiencing a hunger for apocalypse, comparable to the buildup to World War 1.
The years before 1914 were a tremendously promising time. Russia was getting richer, [but then] the whole thing fell apart. It’s comparable today – we’ve done a much better job with feeding the world and if you look at the number of desperately poor people, it has been decreasing quite steadily.
The Dyson’s interview covers a range of interesting related issues – well worth a read. It is also interesting that Dyson openly identifies so strongly with Democratic Party politics. Dyson’s politics, like the politics of other prominent skeptics, contradicts the rather lazy stereotype alarmists sometimes promote, that your politics determine your views on climate change.
As the recent climate mutiny in California demonstrated, Dyson is not the only climate skeptic in the Democratic Party. Other Democrats have gone as far as they are willing to go, and are starting to put climate sanity before political unity.